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Vacation Relaxation

This weekend the family and I head out to Surfside Beach, TX for what is becoming an annual family vacation.  It’s a great time of sitting on the beach, playing games, watching movies, and eating food together as a family.  We’ve all been counting down the days to our “beach vacation” and now it sits squarely within view.

As I look forward to separating from what has become a stressful time in my life, I’m trying to figure out what it looks like to unplug; yet still enjoy my time away.  Here is a list of things I’ve decided to do (and hope my wife follows alongside with):

  • Throw out the calendar.  I promise to not once look at iCal, or my iPhone calendar.  I’m a calendar snob, but part of getting away though will require me to distance from this normal part of my life.
  • Only enjoy the Internet, not work it.  That means I’ll read news, follow some box scores, and see what’s up in the world at large.  However, there will be no emailing, facebooking, or blogging.  (I’ve even warned my staff that I’ll only return a call after the third voicemail left for me!)
  • Social Networking stops.  I often feel like I’m missing the meaning of being with my family when I take myself away from them to put a picture of my time with them on the Internet for a majority of strangers to see.  For this week it stops.
  •  Stay up late.  This isn’t much different from the normal life, but this time I can give myself time to recover with an afternoon nap or by sleeping in later!
  • I will not do things that take me away from my family, for the benefit of being with other people.  That includes texting friends, checking twitter (mentioned above), talking on the phone, words with friends, and anything else that diverts my attention from being with my family.  I expect this to be hard, but I’m working to eliminate the distractions.
  • Nothing deep.  I’m there to have fun with my family.  I’m not there to have long prolonged discussions about our future, our present, and what God may or may not be leading me to do.  It’s not the time.  It’s relax and fun time.
  • Lighten up.  When it comes to the kids, I promise to try my very hardest to lighten up on how I parent.  Respect and obedience will be required, but I’m going to work to not sweat the small stuff.
  •  Read for fun.  For this trip, I put all non-fiction reading on the shelf.  With the only exception being the Bible, I will be working through The Help, and the Game of Thrones.  Thank you Amazon Kindle  for making reading so much fun!

Jonathan Cliff is married to his wife Starr and they together live out their days with two sons and a daughter. Jonathan serves as one of the Pastors at Grace Community Church in Clarksville, Tennessee; where he works with leaders throughout the city to help develop Christian community that leads to deep and meaningful spiritual friendships. His journey has been an adventurous one, having served in the local church for 15 years in family ministry developing leaders, building environments for kids and students to belong, and encouraging parents to take big spiritual steps with their families.


  1. Jeremy Mavis · July 22, 2011

    Jonathan, I’m with you. It’s difficult to take a vacation and intentionally “disconnect” from our connected world. You have to sort of set up some “rules” for yourself ahead of time and try to follow them (like you’ve done). It’s even harder when what you usually do in your life you love to do it, so why not do it even more when you are on vacation. Good thoughts… I really like the graphic!

  2. Papaw · July 22, 2011

    Can I confirm that the condo you have rented has NO garage door!!?